The loss of my friend and former Delaware Division of the Arts director Peggy Amsterdam devastated me, and I know, many others. Peggy was a tireless arts leader in Delaware before becoming president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance in 2000. She died of cancer two weeks ago. She was 60.
Peggy did more than support me when we first met in the early ’90s, when I was a local TV arts reporter. She taught me why the arts mattered, and where we’d be without them. We developed a friendship and worked on several projects. I hesitate to say that we became colleagues, because I was never in her league. She was supremely knowledgeable about the arts, and I never stopped learning from her.
My fondest memory of our time together was a crazy, three-day writing session. Peggy invited me to co-write with her an inaugural show for then-Governor Tom Carper. We did the script, cast the players, and had a great time celebrating artists in Delaware. The show, held at The Grand, was a success, but it was all Peggy’s doing. My name went on the script, but I can assure you the best ideas came from Peggy.
After the show, Peggy gave me a vase made by a local artist. The vase is displayed prominently on my piano. It’s not so much that it’s a beautiful piece, which, of course, it is. I’ve just always felt honored that the great Peggy Amsterdam gave it to me.
Peggy was kind, funny, optimistic, generous and encouraging. She was the most passionate and articulate arts ambassador I have ever known.
Page 2: On to the Arts
Most of our museums are closing out holiday exhibits this weekend. If you haven’t seen them, this is your last chance. Also consider checking out the following events this weekend:
Delaware Symphony Orchestra
Jan. 8-9 “Vienna to London,” will be performed January 8-9 at The Grand. Maestro David Amado is conducting.
Contact info: 652-5577, or desymphony.org
The Grand Opera House
The Alley Cats are playing January 10. The group is considered one of the best in the a cappella music realm. Their shows display musicianship as well as sketch comedy.
Contact info: 652-5577, or thegrandwilmington the.org.
Music School of Delaware
Jan. 9 “Einstein’s Mozart: Two Geniuses,” integrates two of Mozart’s string works with Kate Light’s poetry and prose (Milford)
Jan. 10 Calvary Community Series: “Born in the 20th Century,” works by Miles Davis and others (Calvary Episcopal Church, Wilmington)
Jan. 10 “Einstein’s Mozart: Two Geniuses,” integrates two of Mozart’s string works with Kate Light’s poetry and prose (Wilmington)
Contact info: 762-1132, or delawaremusicschool.org
Saint Georges Country Store
Jan. 8 Michael Brook with guest Kenny Jones
Jan. 9 Jazz Night: Kenny Jones (blues and jazz guitarist)
Here’s an interesting spot in Saint Georges. The shop is a mix between an old-fashioned general store and a New Orleans market. At night there’s live music.
Contact info: 836-8202, or saintgeorgescountrystore.com/